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First try at hand cut dovetails

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Forum topic by Hylofarms posted 04-08-2017 06:22 PM 805 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Hylofarms

14 posts in 339 days


04-08-2017 06:22 PM

Topic tags/keywords: dovetails

So i have some leftover cherry from live edge mantel i put up at my parents house this is my first attempt at laying out and hand cutting dovetails i know itll take practice but i am happy with the outcome of my first go at it any advice from what you see. Yes I know the wood wasn’t the best I could have used..

-- If it was easy everybody would do it. But then if it was so easy, would it even be worth doing?


18 replies so far

View JayCee123's profile

JayCee123

196 posts in 598 days


#1 posted 04-08-2017 06:59 PM

Thats a real nice first attempt !
The more dovetail joints you cut the better they will fit. Your tails are looking pretty good as are your pin sides. I’m judging from the slight over cut, they where cut with a saw. Its tuff for me to tell from the photos …. are you marking your pin and tail depth with a pencil or pen? As soon as your eyes get use to picking up your marks, switch to a marking knife (anything will do an exacto blade, a utility knife, a marking knife). The knife blade will leave a cut in your board surface that will make it easier for you to “find” with your chisel edge as you make your last paring cuts on the pin and tail bottoms. Remember to cut within your layout lines … its tuff to put back wood … although I’ve done that enough times :) A good dovetail saw can improve your initial saw cuts, both in cutting within your layout line and cutting to the depth. Use a sharp chisel(s) and cut from both sides of the boards so you don’t mistakenly blow out the other side. Get in the habit of “X”ing out the portion you wish to remove. Try and get the end pin width down some so that its equal to or less then the full pin width … it will look “prettier,”
Again, nice job. Good luck bud.

View chrisstef's profile

chrisstef

17017 posts in 2840 days


#2 posted 04-08-2017 07:05 PM

Flat and square lumber makes a big difference. It’ll effect layout in a bunch of different ways and i think thats the issue in pic 2 with that deep baseline. Either that or your first chisel blow pushed back.

With that said, your layout looks good, angles look good, you cut good and straight with only a couple overshoots. Chisel work appears to be strong as well. Very good for your first attempt. Very good.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Rrrandy's profile

Rrrandy

212 posts in 313 days


#3 posted 04-08-2017 07:05 PM

Nice, but could be a little tighter. Keep practicing. Some guys (me) never get a hand at it. I use a jig.

-- Y'all need to locate a sense of humor. Borrow one if you can't find yours...

View Rich's profile

Rich

1975 posts in 423 days


#4 posted 04-08-2017 07:25 PM



Nice, but could be a little tighter. Keep practicing. Some guys (me) never get a hand at it. I use a jig.

- Rrrandy

Yep. I did a couple by hand just to prove to myself that I could. Then I bought a Leigh.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

8287 posts in 1320 days


#5 posted 04-08-2017 07:39 PM

When you learn how to cut to a line you can do just about any joinery.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Hylofarms's profile

Hylofarms

14 posts in 339 days


#6 posted 04-09-2017 01:51 PM

Yes that time I marked with a pencil. I used a Japanese saw for the cuts and a 6mm chisel. I guess marking with a knife on both sides help make the chisel through nice and clean. I went to deep on those.

-- If it was easy everybody would do it. But then if it was so easy, would it even be worth doing?

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

18605 posts in 2517 days


#7 posted 04-09-2017 02:08 PM

One can use a SHARP pencil when do the lay out….then you merely cut on the waste side of the lines, leaving the lines. That way, you can pare to fit

Leave the lines, by cutting on the waste side. You can then always pare a little bit, to improve the fit. Easier to remove a bit, then to add a bit.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View EricTwice's profile

EricTwice

228 posts in 367 days


#8 posted 04-09-2017 02:23 PM

not bad for a first try. a couple of veneer shims and it will be right and tight. Use a contrasting wood and make people think you did it on purpose as a decoration.

someone once told me that after the first few hundred times you get really good at hiding your mistakes.


One can use a SHARP pencil when do the lay out….then you merely cut on the waste side of the lines, leaving the lines. That way, you can pare to fit
Leave the lines, by cutting on the waste side. You can then always pare a little bit, to improve the fit. Easier to remove a bit, then to add a bit.

- bandit571

I agree with bandit. I don’t usually have time to hand cut, but it works the same on the band saw. leave the lines and pare to fit

-- nice recovery, They should pay extra for that mistake, Eric E.

View Hylofarms's profile

Hylofarms

14 posts in 339 days


#9 posted 04-09-2017 03:02 PM

I don’t have a band saw yet. My extra cash is being used to upgrade my new house to 200amp and put a sub panel out in the garage. Then I can finally start TIG welding again and bring my compressor over from the farm’s shop. I’ve been reading about layout a bunch. I’ll try another go at it later tonight.

-- If it was easy everybody would do it. But then if it was so easy, would it even be worth doing?

View Texcaster's profile

Texcaster

1261 posts in 1507 days


#10 posted 04-09-2017 11:39 PM

The London pattern looks best to me. Pins smaller than the smallest router bit, tails at least twice the size of the pins.

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

View Holbs's profile

Holbs

1721 posts in 1863 days


#11 posted 04-11-2017 12:53 AM

I took some stabs at hand cut dovetails awhile ago as practice runs. Didn’t turn out too shabby. But other pressing things came up and I put it on hold. I spent lots of time researching this way and that way to go about it. Paul Sellers and Rob Cosman videos really helped with finer details (marking lines with a knife edge for example). There is even a video out there about body positioning and body stance (can’t remember the video right off top of head).
Yep, practice practice practice. Doesn’t have to be spendy wood. Can choose poplar for training purposes too.
For reference, my first attempt at a dovetail was horrid. Kobalt wood working chisels fresh out of the package and a nail hammer :) Needless to say, I almost gave up in 10 minutes.
Then, I found this site. The rest is history….

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter

View KelleyCrafts's profile

KelleyCrafts

2680 posts in 573 days


#12 posted 04-11-2017 01:09 AM

Your problem is you shouldn’t cut dovetails and drive. Man, I thought texters were bad enough! That’s commitment!

-- http://kelleycrafts.com/ - pen blanks - knife scales - turning tools

View bobro's profile

bobro

319 posts in 1144 days


#13 posted 04-13-2017 07:25 PM

I agree with bandit571 about using a sharp pencil, that’s what I use.

-- Lao Ma: You are so full of anger and hatred. Xena: Everybody's gotta be full of something.

View Hylofarms's profile

Hylofarms

14 posts in 339 days


#14 posted 04-13-2017 08:11 PM

I haven’t had any time to cut anymore. Been busy digging a trench and laying two 2” conduit from my house to my garage. I’ll be posting new cuts soon.

-- If it was easy everybody would do it. But then if it was so easy, would it even be worth doing?

View LDO2802's profile

LDO2802

128 posts in 264 days


#15 posted 04-13-2017 09:15 PM

Unless you are cutting a large amount off an inaccurate cut, I use a razor blade to shave off for fit.

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